News Jul 13, 2021

Jacobs Recognized for Water Resources Leadership

Industry recognition for our work in the water resources sector, including a flood forecasting tool and adaptive planning approach.

Jacobs Recognized for Water Resources Leadership

Environment Analyst has recognized Jacobs as the no. 1 U.K. leader in water quality and resources management, building on work we are doing for a variety of clients in the U.K., including the Environment Agency.

Environment Analyst is an international corporate membership community for the environmental & sustainability consultancy and advisory industry, which tracks performance and opportunities within the environmental services sector. The Market Assessment of the U.K. Environmental Consulting Sector 2020/21 is available here to subscribers.

Recently, we have developed an inundation forecasting tool to provide real time flood data to communities and responders. Our automated system makes use of pre-calculated flood extents from previous flood mapping studies. Each community has modelled flood extents for multiple flood magnitudes (2%, 1%, 0.5%, 0.1% Annual Exceedance Probability events etc.) which will be combined with a lookup table of forecast flood level to flood map, allowing a suitable extent to be selected for a given flood forecast. The national forecast map is then produced by combining each of the community level maps into a single extent. The map can be updated as frequently as the forecast (sub-hour) and distributed online for use in incident response and public alerts.

The benefits of our tool include:

  • Providing more accurate, scaled flood warnings and better spatial data to base responses on
  • Allowing the Environment Agency to better respond to flood events, focusing their resources (people, pumps, temporary flood defenses) to areas of greatest need
  • Ultimately allowing more targeted flood alerts to be issued to communities, reducing false alarms and improving public trust in the system

Another area where we have supported the Environment Agency has been adaptive planning pathways. To embed flexibility into flood and coastal risk and erosion management, Jacobs has adopted an adaptation pathways technique, which addresses uncertainty around climate change and spatial development, and ensures the long-term sustainability and cost-effectiveness of planning decisions.

Oxford to Cambridge ArcHumber 2100+ projectand the Severn Regional Growth Zone are three major adaptive pathway pilot studies that we are delivering for the Environment Agency under its Adaptive Pathways pilot program. Each is part of a wider strategic planning project and, in each, we are exploring innovative aspects of embedding adaptive pathways. Please read more on this in our article on adaptive planning.